SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) - There were two horrific scenes Friday in an apparent murder-suicide. Four people are dead. A mother and her two young boys were found in the family's Novi home. The husband was found dead in a parking lot of a Walmart store in Lyon Township. Autopsy results have now been released revealing how they died.
The report, released Saturday, shows 38-year-old Jennifer Schons was fatally stabbed with a knife, while 4-year-old Camden and 6-year-old Tynan were suffocated. Police believe 39-year-old Mark Schons killed his family before inhaling the fumes from a charcoal grill inside his sport utility vehicle. His cause of death was listed as carbon monoxide poisoning. Police say they also found a knife inside the SUV, believed to be the murder weapon.
38-year-old Jennifer Schons made plans for this Friday morning.
"She was to drop the children off at their elementary school here in Novi, and she was to meet her friends for a pre-arranged meeting, a few girlfriends," said Novi Police Chief David Molloy.
But her children, six-year-old Tynan and four-year-old Camden, never made it to school and Jennifer never showed up for that get together with friends. So, just before noon, someone close to her called Novi police telling them that information for fear something was seriously wrong. Uniformed officers showed up to the home on Applebrooke Drive for a welfare check and, regretfully, the worries were for good reason because police discovered Tynan, his little brother Camden and their mom, Jennifer, dead.
"They were all found in separate bedrooms," Molloy said. "As investigators and as law enforcement officers, our hearts go out to the family members of these victims. Many of our investigators who are working on this case have young children at home. Our hearts go out to them, as well, so it's a very sad mood."
39-year-old Mark Schons, husband and father, was nowhere to be found. Immediately, be on the lookout alerts were broadcasted to law enforcement in search of Mark, who police believed to be their suspect.
"We alerted the law enforcement of all the vehicles Mr. Schons had been known to have access to and had driven in the past," said Molloy.
An Oakland County Sheriff's deputy did a little overtime and decided to check out a parking lot at I-96 and Milford Road in Lyon Township. It is a good thing he did because he found Mark's SUV.
"My hats off to that deputy because we would certainly be a lot further behind in this investigation if he had not done some very proactive and preventive police work," Molloy said.
When they approached the vehicle, investigators found Mark dead. Police believe he murdered his wife and kids and then killed himself. Inside that SUV, detectives found several weapons including a knife.
"We believe it is one of the weapons that was used," said Molloy.
When Novi Police Chief David Molloy was asked how could a man kill his own little boys, their mother, his wife, he responded.
"From the information that I've received, it's simply an act of a madman," he said. "We may never know what triggered this event, but we will know every possible thing we can about each and every victim and what has led up to this tragedy as best our investigations can tell."
The couple had just filed for bankruptcy in December. Although Jennifer was a paint engineer for General Motors, Mark's party supply business in Howell recently closed down. He had started working as a computer programmer in Lansing. They wanted to divorce, but were still living under the same roof.
"I thought they were doing fine. She didn't say that they were having any financial issues at all … other than it's tough running a brand new business in this economy," said neighbor Martina Stone.
The superintendent of Northville schools said as soon as they learned of this tragedy, they made sure grief counselors were on-hand to help classmates at Thornton Creek Elementary cope.
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